Jim Harbaugh may be the most notable college football coach facing a seriously hot seat this year. The Michigan Wolverines, who were already feeling the heat due to their struggles against Ohio State and in other big games under Harbaugh, went just 2-4 last year.
For a while, it looked like the end may come for Harbaugh at his alma mater after that brutal shortened season. Instead, Michigan pushed back a decision on the big-name head coach, signing him to a contract extension. The five-year deal is worth $20 million, effectively cutting his pay in half from his previous deal.
Harbaugh may deny feeling the pressure, but he did have a pretty questionable quote about it today. During Big Ten Media Days, he compared it to “World War II propaganda machines.”
“People are trying to discourage you,” the Michigan football coach said. “It’s almost like propaganda, like let’s discourage them. Almost like World War II propaganda machines. ‘Stop, quit, no need to try, you have no chance, don’t even try any further.'”
— Brandon Marcello (@bmarcello) July 22, 2021
“We don’t subscribe to that at all,” Harbaugh added. “We’re trying to get to the top. We’re either going to get there or die trying.”
It’s unclear who those “people” are. The media? Ohio State? Harbaugh works in a business where the results are extremely clear and easy to measure. You can debate expectations, for sure, but any program with the size and history of Michigan football doesn’t think 2-4 is acceptable. And while beating Ohio State is very difficult, that is the rival that Michigan uses to measure itself. Jim Harbaugh is 0-6 in those games, the last few being multi-touchdown blowouts.
And references to World War II like the one Harbaugh made, especially when it comes to something as miniscule in comparison as football, are never a great idea.